It was a highly anticipated and fast-paced match between the Portland Timbers and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Timbers supporters were out in numbers and showed Major League Soccer made the right choice awarding Portland the 2014 MLS All-Star Game. In the end, Portland defeated Los Angeles 2-1 on Saturday because of their successful set pieces.
In fact, Portland scored off not one, but two, set pieces. They started quickly off a dangerous free-kick and caught Los Angeles’ defense and keeper off-guard. Most teams wait for the referee to count off ten yards, but kudos to Portland for restarting fast and noticing Los Angeles was not ready to effectively defend the free-kick.
With the game about to end, Portland once again found set piece success. A last-minute corner kick and getting open in the box, led Portland to a last-minute victory.
If it wasn’t for Portland’s set-piece success, then the Timbers would have lost against the Galaxy. However, they went head-first and fought Los Angeles directly. In addition, they earned quality scoring opportunities and capitalized off the set pieces. Set pieces are something every team practices. It is one thing to successfully convert them in practice, but it is another to do it in high-pressure situations.
Portland was in front of their home crowd and was facing a tough opponent. However, Portland did what they practiced, and successfully converted not one, but two, set pieces.
In the end, set pieces were the main reason why Portland defeated Los Angeles, jumped ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, and continued their impressive success so far in the 2013 MLS season.
Phil Naegely is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @pnaegelyRS and add him to your circles on Google.